Brigitte Bardot is known the world around as one of the sexiest women of all time. Her beautiful blonde hair, pouty lips, large round eyes… and um other things all combine to make her a dazzle to look at. Her stardom erupted on the screen when she made this … And God Created Woman in 1956.
Bardot plays a very young woman in a small seaside town, St. Tropez. She fills her days with walking around barefoot, riding her bicycle, sunbathing nude, and dancing. She just wants to do what she wants. But the men and the older women around her have different plans. Her foster parents are fed up with her coming in late and threaten to send her back to the orphanage. In order to save her from leaving St. Tropez, the rich land baron of the town schemes to marry her off to a dope so that she can stay in town without him committing to her permanently. This boy that she marries is the younger brother or a man that Bardot loves. The older brother sees Bardot’s character as nothing more than a sexual being and he can’t get caught up in her while there is money to be made. The younger brother is the moral center of the group and he falls hopelessly in love with her. Bound to be the dutiful wife, Bardot pleasures her husband and makes him happy. But she is not happy. She is constantly beholden to the matriarch of the family, she can’t go out dancing late at night and she is still desperately in love with his older brother. Finally she breaks through the tension by doing a few awful things and dancing the mambo.
The story is put on the back burner in favor of the long scenes of Brigitte Bardot dancing suggestively or being scantily clad. When we first see her, she is completely naked bathing her already bronzed skin in the bright sunlight. The camera lingers on her in every shot and she lives up to the challenge of being the sexual and emotional center of the movie. As a heterosexual female, I still could not take my eyes off of her. Every scene that she is not in drags in anticipation of her becoming a part of the movie again. Subplots between the land baron and the family she marries into wash away when she reappears on the screen. French words glide out of her mouth like they themselves know how sexual the whole picture is. It really is a wonder to watch.
However I could not help but feel a little dirty while watching an obvious sexual exploitation of a young woman. In the movie I think it is said that she is eighteen. In real life she was in her very early twenties. But looking at her facial structure and the styling of her hair, she seems much younger. Her body is fully formed but I don’t think her mind is quite yet. This may have also to do with the extra information behind the film. Brigitte Bardot was married to the director, Roger Vadim, at the time the picture was being made. She married him when she was eighteen, but there are rumors of them being involved since she was fifteen. Roger Vadim was six years older than she was. Vadim would go on to have a lucrative career in exploiting his later wives and lovers in horrible movies like Barbarella and the Dangerous Liaisons. But here he gets a pass, if not a small one that comes with an asterisk. I wouldn’t watch his other movies but I would watch this one again.
By the way, what is up with insanely ugly dudes with drop dead gorgeous women? Google Roger Vadim and see my point. That man got Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda, and Annette Stroyberg. Ugh.